General observations and ramblings

3 January 2013- Caprivi Strip, Namibia

We have a brilliant camp spot right on the river, the river that soon swells and becomes the Okavango Delta further south in Botswana. We have had our dinner and are in landy listening to the amazing night sounds of the water going past and the perfect tinkle of frogs that sounds just like wooden chimes in a temple. Magical.

Just some general ramblings and thoughts:

So much more of life happens outdoors in Africa- we are so tucked away and do so much of our lives in private. Much of life here happens outside in plain view (and seemingly by the side of the road). Just a tiny bit of what we have seen on the side of the road- laughing, playing, herding goats, sheep, cows, butchering cows, goats, sheep, dancing, walking, running, people going to the toilet, people making food and always people walking and carrying everything you can think of- babies, pots, wood, bags of things, water you name it.

We are not very official with our officials at home but it seems to go further here- when approaching anything official (or anyone in a uniform) a smile, patience (and giving the sense you have plenty of time) hello how are you and a bit of deference (thank you sir) seems to go a long way (so far anyway).

We have been stopped at a lot of road blocks (mostly in Namibia), they ask for a variety of things- sometimes nothing and just say proceed, safe journey. Other times drivers license, passport or both. Sometimes they check the rego sticker and almost always ask where you have come from and where you are going (which they jot down on a clipboard) there are no fewer than 5 or six people standing around while this is happening- a mix of police and immigration (seems to depend on where you are, we have been near Angola so obviously immigration has been at most road blocks recently).

Road sense- cows are sporadic, same as everwhere- for the most part they stay put but sometimes run into the road, goats are all over the place, madly and frantically dashing here, there and everywhere, donkey seem to be ok, if they are on the side of the road generally stay put but if they are on the road – they dont move an inch as you drive at them. Baboons are the best, much much better road sense than kangaroos.

I have really started to daydream about food- fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, salads, yummy cheeses feature strongly in these fantasies.

You get to know yourself and each other REALLY well when you are together day in and day out and see yourself and each other in so many situations.

If you are in Africa and find yourself hot, bothered, tired or generally flustered look around and you will see someone carrying something really heavy on their head, walking down the road to who knows where, usually with a baby on their back- our life is sooooo easy

Children here are so much more self sufficient (if that’s the word?) Often we see groups of children- the oldest about 6 with a whole slew of little ones, babies, toddlers etc walking, running, look after animals, all right next to the road and no adults in site, sometimes you have not even seen a hut for ages! I can’t imagine a 6 year old in Australia walking down the highway with a goat, two donkeys and several babies to look after.

People are so friendly to us, sometimes there are stares of indifference or curiosity but often waves and big big smiles. If not as soon as we wave and break the ice there are big genuine smiles and greetings.

If we stop on the side of the road for any reason, to look at something on landy, fill a water bottle etc, within a few minutes little faces appear and start to make their way up to landy- playing, chatting, smiling, sometimes asking for something, often shyly.

So much of our good fortune is an accident of birth (I have thought this for years but its being reenforced again)



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